Although he may not be able to compete with Lady Gaga’s Little Monsters, Andrew York has an international following that includes classical guitar masters Christopher Parkening and John Williams, who have covered his compositions including “Sunburst,” played by Andrew below. He also won a Grammy for Best Classical Crossover Album for Guitar Heroes (2004) with the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet.
Andrew’s latest work is Centerpeace, a collaboration with Andy Summers (former guitarist for the Police), and pianists Allaudin Mathieu and Mitsuko Kado. High Quality MP3s are available now, and the CD will be released on July 14th.
Centerpeace is a departure from Andrew’s previous recordings, with the focus more on composition and improvisation instead of virtuoso performances. Two of the pieces are solo piano compositions played by Japanese classical pianist Mitsuko Kado. The first track on the CD is “Sakura Perspectives,” a duet with Kado that starts off with cascading piano lines and York coaxing Koto-like tones from his guitar. The album ends with Kado on solo piano for the beautiful “Canticle,” where the notes seem to float effortlessly on harmonies that flow in a natural, almost inevitable progression.
In between are mostly improvisations with York and pianist Allaudin Mathieu, along with the title track “Centerpeace,” where Andy Summers plays multiple tracks of electric and steel-string guitars and textures against York’s classical counterpoint. The pieces with Mathieu offer a reflective interplay between the piano and guitar, without the introspective meandering that can creep into solo improvisations. My favorite of these is “Improvisation 10 Mbira,” where the piano and guitar lines weave in and around each other to form a contemplative tapestry of sounds.